Kentucky attorney general challenges governor on education budget cuts

By Mark Iandolo | Apr 15, 2016

FRANKFURT, K.Y. (Legal Newsline) – In a lawsuit filed in Franklin County Circuit Court, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is challenging Gov. Matt Bevin’s authority to make cuts to public college and university funding.

“On Jan. 4, I put my hand on my family Bible and took an oath to defend our constitution. As attorney general, it is my duty to ensure that no public official acts outside his or her authority, regardless of position and regardless of party,” Beshear said. “And that duty is why today I filed suit against Gov. Bevin for his unconstitutional and illegal order cutting Kentucky’s public universities and colleges in this fiscal year.”

Beshear’s lawsuit claims that Bevin’s 4.5 percent cuts are illegal, violating the state’s constitutional provision of the separation of powers. Beshear further argues that the governor has violated state statutes that govern budget reductions.

“The general welfare and material well-being of citizens of the Commonwealth depend in large measure upon the development of a well-educated and highly trained workforce,” Beshear said. “Those are not my words, they are Kentucky law – passed by the legislature and codified into law (KRS 164.003.) So in Kentucky, a university or community college education is not a privilege, it is a vital necessity for our economic survival. That’s not my opinion, that’s the law.”

Beshear seeks a permanent injunction that would force the governor to release the cut money to each university.

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